Monday, June 14, 2010

The last 5000m hill - and one of the world's best downhills

(so far as tar downhills can be nice, that is)

You don't go to Tibet for the epic snowstorms that you'd have to cycle through - that's what the Freedom Challenge is for. You don't go to Tibet for the miles of endless singletrack - that's what Joberg2C is for. There are awesome pieces of singletrack and technical riding if you look for it - if there's badly corrugated roads for miles, there's very likely gonna be a yak-track next to the road. If the jeeptrack to basecamp gets to boring, there will be a hiking trail somewhere if you search for it.

But I digress - you don't go to Tibet if you're after exceptional technical riding ... But if you're after exceptional views of big mountains, then this is where you'll get it. If you like the piece of road between Worcester and Ceres, or if you like the drop from the N2 down into Nature's Valley, then Tibet is a 3000m drop over 30 kays.

Climbs to match, of course.

It was cold when we climbed the last 5000m pass up Thang La. By now we're used to the altitude, so it was possible to race this hill - as far as the oxygen at 5km above sea level allow you to race, that is ...

The downhill was even colder - you sit on your bike and do nothing while the icy winds from the icy mountains cool you down. The downhill flattened out and the ride was interspersed with some mild climbs and very pleasant riding to lunch at Nyalam.

After lunch the real downhill started - the road just goes down and down and down. Breathtaking, the river far below - and suddenly you smell trees. You're below the treeline again, but the downhill just continues.  

Just before Zhangmu the road surface turn really bad - you ride through a few construction sites with lots of mud. The whole town of Zhangmu is built on one single road that snakes down the mountain. You'd walk into the hotel at street level, then go down doe your room on floor 3 (with a nice view) and down to the first room for breakfast - where' you'd be on street level again.

Tomorrow we cross the border and back into Nepal.
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